Mets hope Braves series energizes fan base

The Mets lost 3-1 to the Braves on Thursday night, as Atlanta avoided the sweep. The Mets took three of four against the Braves, and are within 8 of Atlanta and 8-1/2 of the first -place Nationals in the National League East, and are definitely not out of it.

They played some of their best baseball in this series, as they had some of the best offensive performances of the season. The hope is that this can get the fan base excited as they head into a weekend series at Citi Field against another division rival, the Miami Marlins.

Mets center fielder Curtis Granderson said of the fans, “Hopefully, it’s a good thing, you know, at the same time, a lot of fans are like, oh, it’s just one series, and you want to wait around and see, but hopefully you’ve got a lot of fans that say, wow, you know, this is something good, hopefully this is a turning point for the team. We’ve got another tough series coming up this weekend, maybe I want to go check that out because it’ll be a good day to catch some baseball. It’s a Friday, Saturday, one of the other top teams in the league.

“All we can do is be hopeful for it and hope that the fans that have been here that have been showing their love and support continue to spread it to the other ones that want to come out and continue to regain it, bring back some old and new faces,” said Granderson.

Mets catcher Anthony Recker said, “I hope it excites them. I hope it gets them thinking positive, get them going, hope it gets us going, a positive step in the right direction towards us making a push for the playoffs.

On if this series is a statement, Recker said, “I would love to say that. Anytime you play the Braves, we went to their place and they swept us in three, so if they come here, and we take those three or four back from them, that’ll be a statement.”

On the division race, Recker said, “I think the division is definitely wide open. In terms of how far we are back, it’s too early to start looking at that. All we can do is just put our heads down, continue to work hard and see where we are at the end of  this month, into August, then September.”

Mets Manager Terry Collins said of the nature of the division race, “We’ve got a long way to go. The coaches, we had a meeting today, and we talked about the number of times we still play teams in our division. We’ve got a lot of games left in our division, a lot. You’re not going to win them all, but if you win your fair share, you’re going to be in the hunt because with where we are in the season, a lot of times, teams are going to beat each other up. Whoever comes up with the best record in your division going head-to-head in the next two months will be in good shape.”

On what the Braves series means to his team, Collins said, “We’ve said all along, we compete. We’ve competed all year long. We haven’t won the games we want to win, we’ve lost a lot of tough games – we compete. I don’t care who we’re playing, we compete. We’re competing against the Atlanta Braves right now. In the last three days, we’ve pitched very well, we keep giving ourselves chances to win, and right now we’re driving in runs that are big.  It’s a huge lift to our team to know it can be done, that they can do it. All the things we’ve been saying the last few months are really true, that we’re one big hit away from winning these games, and right now we’re doing it.”

On Thursday night, the Braves jumped out to an early lead against Mets starter Bartolo Colon. In the top of the first, Freddie Freeman had an RBI double followed by a Jason Heyward RBI single to make it 2-0 Atlanta.

First innings have been a problem for Colon this season, and Collins said of that, “If I had an idea, I would certainly try to fix that. Dan (Warthen, pitching coach) had him throw more pitches in the ‘pen tonight than he has in the past to maybe give him a better feel like later in the game. I’m not sure he has a true feel for his offspeed stuff in the first inning, gets a better feel of it later in the game. I don’t know, we certainly have searched and searched, charted and haven’t come up with any answers.”

On if he will continue to try to fix it, Collins said, “We’ve gotta fix it, he’s too good a pitcher, look what he does, this guy gave us eight pretty good innings. We can’t keep falling deep behind. When you’re facing a good team, you have to give yourself a chance.”

The Braves added to their lead in the third, as Andrelton Simmons and Freddie Freeman opened the inning with singles, and Simmons scored on a double play by Justin Upton.

The Mets came back with a run in the bottom of the third on a David Wrigth RBI single to cut it to 3-1 Atlanta.

The Mets had a great scoring chance in the fifth, as they got a two-out rally going. Daniel Murphy singled, followed by walks to Wright and Lucas Duda to load the bases. Travis d’Arnaud, who had a good series at the plate, was up next, and he hit a lazy fly ball to center field to end the inning.

The Mets only had one hit the rest of the night, a d’Arnaud single in the eighth. The Mets had two on in the eighth, forcing the Braves to go to Craig Kimbrel for a 4-out save. Kimbrel got out of the eighth with a strikeout of Kirk Nieuwenhuis and retired the Mets in order in the ninth to end it.



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